Volunteers in Sports
When will the inestimable value of volunteers in club and league sports be honored?
5.12.2019 – Volunteers’ Day
Thank you. You make club sports possible.
Modern club sport is current, trend-oriented and exists thanks to thousands of qualified trainers and coaches. One of the core topics of the Verband für Turnen and Freizeit (VTF) is to honor them for their – in the majority volunteer – engagement, to support them and to offer them the possibility of keeping their knowledge up-to-date and extending their training in certain topics.
We express our thanks on this Volunteers’ Day to all those who offer their time engaging in clubs and leagues to organize or carry out sports offers, and thus make a great contribution in the sense of social structures and personal responsibility to the social integration and health of very many people.
Thank you for investing countless hours in the gyms and sport halls, gymnastic rooms and around the club premises and engaging with enthusiasm and conviction for club sports.
Volunteer engagement has been a supporting pillar of sport clubs and leagues in Germany for more than 200 years, when organized sports came into being. Now sport clubs have become the largest civilian initiative in the country: there are about 27 million memberships in about 90,000 sport clubs (DOSB press).
Despite the development that larger clubs (with 4- to 5-digit membership counts) increasingly need to place core tasks of administration and management in the hands of the central office, volunteers remain a supporting pillar in the new “Cooperation culture between professional and voluntary work” (See Hans Jürgen Schulke: “Als Vereine in Bewegung kamen”).
Numerous clubs with fewer members still function exclusively according to the principle of self-organization, although they, too, are subject to pressure and the influences of increasing numbers of commercial providers in the Fitness and Health branch. This is one reason more to support the volunteer functionaries, coaches and assistants in their volunteer activities and to provide them with professional tools. Hans Jürgen Schulke, an expert in the history and development of clubs, emphasizes their potential for expanding competencies: “Clubs are not rigid frameworks, members and those elected to bear responsibility will develop new contents and structures, and especially enthusiasms within social changes. That has been and remains their strength.” The Verband für Turnen und Freizeit supports its member clubs in promoting creativity and new ideas, and also in the adaptation to current social trends and development of up-to-date offers - and it has done so for more than 40 years.
As early as 1974, the VTF – called the “Hamburger Turnverband” at that time – organized the “Active Leisure” Congress for the first time. This was followed by numerous congresses and specialist meetings, among them also the successful International Hamburger Sport Congress.
In its 10th issue in October 2020, the VTF takes another qualitative step with its sport congress, in which the areas of theory and science, as well as therapy, are expanded and strengthened. The Sports, Medicine & Health Summit” is the new educational event with innovative format.
Expanded topics from the areas of sports, medicine and science will be presented in lectures, workshops and new presentation formats by top-notch speakers and brought into relationship to one another. The Summit brings scientists and practitioners together from all over the world and creates mutual exchange and a new, broad network.
This article was written and published by the Verband für Turnen und Freizeit (VTF).